Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel's response rings true: Chicago students were not acknowledged during the strike. These students were left several days without an education, which is a failure in the system itself whereas teachers did not find an adequate means of fixing their problems. Understandably, teachers have grievances that must be addressed; however, allowing a strike to continue that long questions the real focus of the Chicago school system at-large. (Is the focus of the children at stake here? Why, during this debate, did no one offer to return to school to support the children?) In my opinion, it seems as if the main focus (the welfare of the children) was completely disregarded.
If I were a teacher, I'd remember my purpose: to teach the children. Again, these teachers lost their purpose. CNN reported that 350,000 students were not able to attend schools for 8 days. How does this look? It appears to me that the teachers claimed their proposals in the names of their students only to get their own agendas passed, which was pitifully done and executed. I think it's a disgrace to the educational system that it mocks.
While the teacher's strike is not unprecedented, and may indeed have been long overdue, I have to question the loyalty of these teachers to their students. I neither agree nor disagree with their actions, but having been raised in the public school system, and had so many teachers that were so overqualified for their positions, I can honestly say that I don't think any of my previous teachers would have left me without school for a week. There is an issue in the education system and it should be addressed, but this was an inappropriate way for it to be handled. As a grateful student for my many years of undeserved quality public education, I encourage future teacher groups to stand together, without leaving the student's best interests behind.
This quote exemplifies what should be at the core of a protest like this. Above all else, the children and their future are the most important issue. This, however, does not mean that the rights and concerns of the teachers are any less important. It says quite the opposite, actually. In order to provide the best education and opportunities for the children, the best resources must be put forth in order to help ensure this. This quote seems to imply that the strikers are using the students as pawns in their dispute. However, if you look at the big picture it can be argued that the children were used as pawns when their instructors rights' were neglected, thus putting their education in jeopardy.
I have to say I agree with Mayor Emanuel on this comment. When I first heard about the Chicago teachers' strike, I assumed theirs was a righteous cause. As the son of a public school librarian and a student considering going into teaching, I am well-aware that teachers are often underpaid and overqualified. During budget cuts, education is one of the first sectors to be chipped away at, despite America's plummeting competitiveness in this area compared to many European and Asian nations. Chicago has such a situation on their hands: they are already facing a $1 billion deficit in the school system for next year, but rather than proposing cuts, they are fighting a 16% increase in pay proposed by the Teacher Union.I understand the teachers' grievances with increases in teacher evaluations and standardized testing, and the reduction on limitations to prevent them from being fired suddenly, but I think they are demanding too much at the wrong time. The average yearly salary for a teacher in Chicago is $76,000, which is around $20,000 above the national average ($56,069 for 2010-2011 school year). Additionally, I see significant hypocrisy in their negotiation strategy, which Mayor Emanuel criticizes in the above quote. How can these teachers unexpectedly abandon the schools, the only feasible source of daytime childcare for many working parents, and simultaneously demand pay increases? Doing so places a significant strain on the income of these parents, whose job schedules will be affected by a dispute which has nothing to do with them, and places a tax burden on the already struggling school system and city. Again, I can empathize with these teachers, but I agree with Mayor Emanuel that their strategies in this instance are overzealous.
I believe in the power and responsibility of the people. However, the unionization of workers often can lead to negative consequences. There is an overwhelming and nearly-universal sense of entitlement among them; that's why they create unions: to work together for mutual benefit. But that also makes them clamor for reform when there is no need for it. The teacher's strike, as Emanuel says, is detrimental to students as well. Unions are completely self-centered and turn a blind eye towards their effect on others.
Teachers get off for every holiday and for the entire summer. Besides designing their curriculum, there's only the day-to-day grading and instruction that factors into their workload. I cannot trivialize their contribution to society at large; however, they are compensated fully well for their services. And teacher's unions are examples of how their cause goes too far.
This quote seems to imply that the strikers are using the students as pawns in their dispute.But that also makes them clamor for reform when there is no need for it.